Tiring of idling in front of the vault, Erin gestures for him to follow her as she heads down the stairs towards the right side of the palace. As she walks, she answers him, "The Arming Empire, is its full name," she clarifies, "They want to conquer the world. They've almost done it - only the Sanctuary, Cialin, and parts of the Island Alliance are still free. Most of the refugees we get are from the Islands and Cialin, though... sometimes we get a few wielders or mages from the Empire, running from the army or the recruiters."
It's late, but the city is more than large enough that a number of people are still out, walking through the plaza on their way to or from the palace. A wooden stand selling hot drinks is still open in the small market there, while shutters cover the openings in all the others. In the day time workers in the palace, off-duty guards, and servants and nobles alike from all the nearby households come here to eat, but at night it looks like something out of a ghost story.
Those people they pass acknowledge Erin with a short but respectful bow, hand pressed over their heart. Erin nods in return, smiling pleasantly, before continuing on. His detect magic spell should reveal that every person they pass has a core of magic, most of them identifiable as neutral-shading Water and Life, and much smaller than Erin's, which he might just barely be able to make out past the glow of the Gauntlet. A few of them have larger cores, many of them tinted towards other magics than those most prevalent around the city. One particularly ancient looking woman has a small core which shifts with every colour of the rainbow, Water and Space and every other magic he has encoutered here so far, as well as a number he has not. Several people carry objects which shine like small stars, some pulsing with life like the Rod in the ring room, and some glowing steadily.
They pass by an elaborate fountain, one of many in the plaza, the water shooting up in straight, continuous streams, the veins of magic beneath them running in a winding loop, the magic entering and exiting from the same two large veins. Erin sticks her hand into one of the streams as she passes, smiling at the fond look one of her people gives her as he walks by.
They reach one of the openings onto the plaza, where a set of wide stairs leads down to a canal. A dozen small, shallow boats are tied up at the jetty there, one just pulling away with a trio of passangers. They have oars, settled in the bottom of the boats, but they appear to be using magic to move them instead, one member of the trio pressing a thread of magic into a disc at the prow.
To the right of the canal is a staircase leading down, to the railcars. To the left is a path leading around the palace, an eleborate railing to prevent falls bracketing it. It's the last Erin heads towards, beginning to speak again now that they've escaped most of the late-night traffic.
"Most of the mages from the Empire say it's not so bad, living there. People from the west sometimes talk about how the Imperial schools took away their culture; that back when they'd just been conquered the Empire would take the children away and return them speaking Imperial. They've been doing it in the Islands, too, I think, only they haven't been there long enough to have returned any of them yet."